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I Remember Maria

I Remember Maria



Menis Koymantareas
illustrator: Thanasis Makris

Kastaniotis, 2007
47 p.
ISBN 978-960-03-1282-9, [In Print]
Price € 8,48

The short, charming novella, I Remember Maria by Menis Koumandareas (Kastaniotis, 1994) attempts a completely different encounter with the myth of Callas. Without any historicising burden or gossipy allusions, stemming only from pure sentiment, the narration by the hero – supposedly a seventeen year-old waiter at the Hotel “Grand Bretagne” where Callas stayed during her visit to Athens in 1957 – recalls his chance encounter with the soprano during her recital at the Herodes Atticus Theatre. Written in the first person, the narrative reproduces the peculiar semi-historical memory of ordinary people and leaves a taste of a charming childhood lie. At the same time, it functions as a camera, visually reproducing, with charming naivete the impression created by contact with the diva in the hero’s youthful soul. With the same, supposedly unsophisticated gaze, he “photographs” for the reader commonplace “historical” reference points – the unnamed Menegini, the maid, the dog – with a completely different significance. At the end, what remains is a fleeting fragrance of familiarity, laden with a strange sense of intrusion into Callas’ private life.

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